If there is one technique on which biomedicine has pinned its hopes, it is CRISPR, a genome editing technology that simplifies and facilitates the changes to be made in the genome (read our ethical opinion HERE) . This sort of genetic “cut and paste” has just received the approval of the National Institutes of Health advisory committee on genetic research to set up a clinical trial in humans (read HERE). The study will be offered to patients with cancer, with the idea of improving immunotherapy techniques for the treatment of myeloma, sarcoma and melanoma. The aim of to genetically modify lymphocytes in the immune system so that they are more efficient in the treatment of cancer. “Cell therapies […] are very promising, but the majority of people who get these therapies have a disease that relapses,” says study leader Edward Stadtmauer of the University of Pennsylvania in Nature (read abstract HERE). The trial that has been approved will not be so much to test its effectiveness against cancer, but to demonstrate that CRISPR is safe in humans. The CRISPR technique authorised will be conducted in 18 patients from California and Texas (ABC sociedad, 22-VI-2016).

Photo by Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance